, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 397-404

A one hundred and seventeen year coastal water temperature record from Woods Hole, Massachusetts

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We have compiled what we believe is the longest coherent coastal sea surface temperature record in North America. Near-surface water temperature measurements have been made almost daily at Great Harbon, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, since 1886 with remarkably few gaps. The record shows that there was no significant trend in water temperature at this site for the first 60 yr of observation. There was some cooling during the 1960s that was followed by a significant warming from 1970–2002 at a rate of 0.04°C yr−1. During the 1990s annual mean temperatures averaged approximately 1.2°C warmer than they had been on average between 1890 and 1970; winter (December, January, and February) temperatures were 1.7°C warmer and summer (June, July, and August) temperatures were 1.0°C warmer. There has not been a statistically significant decrease in the annual number of winter days below 1°C or an increase in the annual number of winter days above 5°C. The number of summer days each year with water temperature above 21°C has not increased significantly. The dates of first observations of 10°C and 20°C water in the spring have not changed sufficiently to be statistically significant. There is a weak positive correlation between annual and winter water temperature and the annual and winter North Atlantic Oscillation index, respectively, during the period of record.